I bought a new summer jacket a week or so ago, a classic white blazer by Theory. I imagine it will become a summer staple for me. What my friend Liz calls a “passe-partout,” or a piece that “passes everywhere”, and goes with everything. My friend Marina, the languages teacher, tells me that “passe-partout” can also mean master key. Hmmm. Something that allows me entry to all the doors… or all the outfits in this case.
You know, I haven’t owned a white summer jacket in years. I have many fond memories of past white jackets. Particularly of a lovely, long-line, double-breasted, cream linen jacket in the eighties. I remember I wore it to my first teaching job that spring with narrow black pants, black flats, and a burgundy and white striped button-down shirt. I felt like a million bucks in that outfit: professional, and polished, and if not yet confident in my abilities in the classroom, at least looking the part. Ha. That jacket also looked fabulous over a grass-green tank and a green and white striped maxi skirt that I bought the first summer I was teaching. In the evening I pulled the jacket on with jeans and sandals to head out for supper or a movie with Hubby, who actually wasn’t my hubby yet.
If I had all those pieces now, I’d probably wear the exact same outfits. Well… minus a couple of feet of shoulder pads in the jacket. And, okay, maybe not the button-down shirt. And I’d probably swap the black patent flats for sneakers. But you get the idea. That eighties jacket was definitely a passe-partout piece. I literally wore it everywhere, with pretty much everything in my closet.
So, I’m hoping that this Theory white jacket will go everywhere this summer, that it will be the key to a whole lot of great outfits. I tried it first with my checked pants from Rag and Bone, my old white tee from Vince, my red Earth loafers, and the red leather cuff I bought at a stall in Covent Garden in London. I’m thinking the jacket will look great with my black Rag and Bone cropped pants, my black and white striped tee, and my Stan Smith sneakers. Or my black and white striped midi-skirt with a white tee and sneakers. Or just to pull on with jeans, a tee, and flat sandals to head out for supper with Hubby… who, incidentally, will have been my Hubby for thirty years this summer.
You know, come to think of it, I have a plethora of passe-partout pieces in my closet. My black Helmut Lang jacket and my old Burberry denim skirt, to name a couple. Even these checked Rag and Bone pants. Last fall I wore them with my Akris burgundy turtleneck and my burgundy loafers, and now they are marching into spring. They’ve been to book club with a black sweatshirt and black loafers, as well as to lunch with a friend. I bought them at the Nordstrom Black Friday sale last November. They are winter weight, but I remember Liz saying that they’d be good for spring too. Yep. You were right again, my friend.
In fact, I was all ready to wear my white jacket with my loafers and checked pants to go shopping yesterday. I’m on the hunt for summer sandals and a new summer bag. But rain, wind, more rain, and the beginnings of a head cold made me reconsider. I had no timelines to meet, no appointments to keep, and no plans to reschedule. So I hunkered down with my blankie and a book instead. That, my friends, is one of the great joys of retirement… choosing to be sick if one wants.
Of course I didn’t choose to feel like death yesterday morning. But I did choose NOT to push myself to carry out my plans. And that IS one of the joys of being retired. No waking up at five, testing whether I’m sick enough to warrant all the palaver and hassle of taking a day off work. No need to dig deep to find the energy to go to work anyway because of plans that could not be rescheduled. Sigh. Just putting the kettle on and going back to bed with tea and a book. I wrote about the joys of being sick when I first retired. Funnily enough, it’s the favourite post of a few of my old colleagues.
So, whatever sandals and bags I might have found yesterday will have to wait until next week. And the benefit is I can delay the pleasure of wearing my new jacket for the first time. Delayed gratification being the very best gratification, in my view. Especially since last night, following my tea with lemon and honey, I drifted off to sleep with visions of white jackets in my head. Hugging to myself the thought of a brand new outfit sitting in my closet yet to be worn.
As if I were thirteen again… instead of almost sixty-three.
What outfit visions have danced in your head these days, my friends? Any passe-partout pieces that will go anywhere, and with everything?
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